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Upon Further Review: Rookies lead Giants to "W"

Posted Dec 8, 2014

Coach Tom Coughlin was impressed by the play of the Rookies against the Titans on Sunday

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The best Sunday the Giants had since Oct. 5 begat the best Monday they’ve enjoyed in two months, the result of their 36-7 victory yesterday in Tennessee that ended a seven-game losing streak.

“It’s a better day at the office when you win, believe me,” Tom Coughlin said on a conference call today.

The Giants hope to gain some momentum from their triumph in Nashville and end the season on an upswing. They have three games remaining – home contests against NFC East foes Washington and Philadelphia sandwiched around a trip to St. Louis.

Aside from the victory, perhaps the most positive development was the continued outstanding play of the team’s rookie class. Odell Beckham Jr. and Andre Williams were the headliners, but the Giants also got contributions from Devon Kennard, Weston Richburg, Jay Bromley, Nat Berhe and free agent defensive end Kerry Wynn.

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“It is encouraging, because long have we invested in their playing time,” Coughlin said. “Most of these guys, whether it be Kennard, Berhe or any of these younger guys who are getting some snaps and some play time -- you see Wynn in there contributing now and that is a good thing -- the fact that they have played some and they continue to play and get experience and they have had a little taste of success from time to time, that is a good thing. Bromley was in there. Obviously, the production from Andre Williams was good. Richburg has been in there since day one; Beckham, since he has come back from his injury. In order to advance this team, these young guys have got to get great experience and they are starting to get it.”

Beckham, the first-round draft choice who is putting together the best season by a rookie wide receiver in Giants history, had 11 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. The 11 catches were the most ever by a Giants rookie wideout (tight end Mark Bavaro set the team rookie record with 12 in 1985). Although he missed the first four games with a hamstring injury, Beckham leads the team with 59 catches for 829 yards and is tied with Williams and Larry Donnell for the lead with six touchdowns.

“I think we knew that he was a very talented young man when we drafted him,” Coughlin said. “The number of things he can do, you saw him throw the ball yesterday and you have seen him run the ball, and certainly catch the ball. We continue to try to put him in some spots where we can utilize all of the talents that he brings to the field.”

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Richburg, the second-round draft choice this year, has played in every game and started all but one at left guard.

Bromley, the defensive tackle taken third, has played in five games, including the last three. He was part of the rotation yesterday but had no tackles.

Williams rushed for 131 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown, and had 24 of the Giants’ 30 rushing attempts. He and Beckham were the first rookies in Giants history with 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game.

Coughlin was asked whether Williams, who has 524 rushing yards this season, is “evolving.”

“I hope so,” Coughlin said. “That is what this thing is all about. I think he is, with the exception of a couple of times when I would have maybe made a little bit different reaction to some of the things he saw in front of him. He was on the spot with his cuts and he did demonstrate once again the power that we are counting on. The more he plays, the better he gets, and the more opportunity he has. He helped us considerably getting started in a two- minute drill. That was a big plus.”
 
Berhe, the safety selected in the fifth round, has played in every game on special teams. His role has expanded on defense. Yesterday, he had a defensive tackle and two on special teams.

Kennard, chosen 22 spots after Berhe on the same round, missed three early-season games with a hamstring injury. But he has become a force in recent weeks, with nine tackles vs. Dallas and two sacks in each of the last two games. His first sack yesterday forced a Zach Mettenberger fumble that Markus Kuhn scooped up and returned 26 yards for a touchdown.

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“He is maintaining his own at the line of scrimmage, he plays with power, he can shock you on contact, which we all observed,” Coughlin said of Kennard. “He is a guy that is not prone to missed assignments or anything of that nature. Loves to play, he is physical, so he has been the kind of things you are looking for.”

Wynn was inactive for the first 11 games before debuting last week in Jacksonville with three tackles, including a half-sack. He had a special teams tackle in Tennessee.

 *Coughlin said the Giants suffered no injuries yesterday “that will prevent anyone from going forward.”

That includes Eli Manning, who spent time in the trainer’s room after the game.

“I think he is sore,” Coughlin said. “He had some ice; that probably was what he was doing. There really hasn’t been any report to me on anything (an injury) like that. He’ll be, probably not today, but he’ll definitely be in tomorrow. He is always in on Tuesday. He will start out in the weight room and if he needs to stop in the training room, he will do that. It is normally just maintenance for him. I am not speaking out of turn, I don’t know a lot about anything else. No one seems to be overly concerned.”